Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Biggest mistake so far 

Of the war. I bet you thought I was going to discuss myself with a heading like that. Can't. It would take up too much space.
Administration spokesmen implied that the war in Iraq had purposes other than rescuing the oppressed and rolling back Islamic extremism. They emphasized the same short-run objectives that had rallied public support behind the brief Afghan campaign, namely revenge for 9/11 and self-defense against WMDs. That these were the "most widely publicized presentations to the general public," Berman remarks, indicated the Administration's deplorable lack of strategic vision.

I imagine that some in the administration were thinking in a grander way (along the lines of what I think our foreign policy should be), but the case was not made clear enough. And that's a shame. Because we could use the huminatarian argument to overcome our countries shying away of hegemonic (Imperial) responsibility to execute a foreign policy that would ensure greater world stability and national security for the US. As you've probably noticed, I've discussed this before.

Read this entire piece, which reviews two books on liberal thinking and thinking in general concerning and behind recent American foreign policy. However, I must warn you that the article is filled with a lot of dubious assumptions on which much reasoning is based. However, due to the fact that the article contends that we need to consider that there are many more threats to us than just islamo-fascism, and that military force is not the solution to all problems, I recommend it anyway.

The other thing that bothers me is that the author keeps refering to Iraq as a failure, as if the outcome is already determined. That is foolish, and greatly hurts his piece, as well as revealing a great tendancy to engage in slapshod thinking. Bungling a lot of moves in Iraq is not the same as losing it. We really screwed up a lot in past wars that we ultimately won. What makes things different now, when there have been historically low casualties for an effort such as that in Iraq, as well as great progress in helping to establish a stable, democratic government in Iraq, is unclear. Maybe it's just the author's underlying ideology.

The ending of the piece is especially fun:
Having advocated a military response to genocide in the 1990s, Rieff now confesses to a sore conscience about the Iraq War. That is what makes his book so absorbing. At the Point of a Gun documents better than any other printed source the inner torment of humanitarian interventionists who, without forgetting Rwanda and Bosnia, have gazed into the Iraqi abyss. Power and the Idealists is equally riveting, but for the opposite reason. As intelligent as he obviously is, Berman has yet to pry open his eyes. His stubborn unwillingness to acknowledge that high ideals have been hijacked for nonideal ends, although not especially admirable, is a perfectly human reaction to a disastrous war launched and conducted under deceitful pretenses. The two books, in the end, leave us with one and the same question, namely: How is the left to regain its moral bearings in a world where the right has brazenly stolen progressive ideals (human rights, liberation, democracy, relief of suffering) and marched the country into a bloody calamity under a false flag of liberty? That this vital question remains unanswered is shocking and sobering. To have focused our minds on the challenge ahead is the shared achievement of these tortured and illuminating works.

My eyes are wide open. And not just to the fact that this author is pretending to write a considered, topical, and timely review of these two books when he's really just trying to align them with his own ideologies. The author obviously has a problem with the US acting in its own best interests. He seems to think that using the excuse of humanitarian reasons to execute a foreign policy is somehow wrong because it violates the underlying 'progressive' principles. If only lip service is paid to humanitarian causes, than I agree with the author. But this is obvioulsy not the case. 75% of Iraq is stable and secure, with a constantly developing infrastructure and maturing political system. This didn't happen on its own, but with the help of the US government and its troops that genuinely care about the futures of the Iraqi people. Genuinely improving the humanitarian interests, whether by hard or soft power, of unstable countries is in the best interest of US power and security intersts in the world.

It's sad that the author of this piece cannot agree with me on this because US 'imperialism' is bad. I tend to agree with Niall Ferguson that US global hegemony, 'empire' if you will, is good (and realists that contend that a single hegemon in the system allows for world stability and decreased chances for war). It's certainly better than any other alternative, given US values of free societies and economies, so I say bring it on.

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